The Exceeding Riches of His Grace: Consummation (continued)
And you move on to the race, which has grown, and multiplied and expanded, and you come to Babel and the disruption of the human race, and the breakout into conflicting nations with the strife and confusion of tongues. The whole earth is just full of confusion, that is Babel. On you go, and there arises the story of Israel, a family, and then that is broken. It came as the tribe was divided into two, fighting each other. There became schism in Israel. Then further on, there was the awful disintegration, disruption of the exile. It intended it to be. There is the breakdown of human relationships, the state of confusion. And this story did not stop with the Old Testament, and with the exile. It is there when you come into the New Testament. It is there in the heavenlies, a terrible atmosphere of conflict. When you meet together, immediately you open your gospels, it is there. And God brings in something very beautiful with Pentecost, 'they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching, the breaking of bread and prayers.' And now, as we said before, this terrible disruption of satan breaks in again, to divide it all, to spoil it all. And the rest of the New Testament is so baffling with this, this thing called division, schism, strife, disintegration. But the great appeal is for fellowship and oneness in Christ.
And what about today? Well, the world has grown so much bigger than it was in those days. It is a much bigger world altogether, where new countries have been discovered and populated. It is a far greater world, and with the literal, historical expansion and growth, what has happened? Was there ever a time when there was more conflict, more confusion, more strain in relationships that there is now? Truly the prince of the power of the air is very busy. Today this world holds more of this confusion, divisiveness, and strain in relationships than ever before. Despite every effort of every counsel, and every union and every effort of man to bring the nations together, it all breaks down every time. Is not that true? Well that is how it is, and it is not, of course, all right. No, it is very wrong. But do you see what the Apostle Paul is telling us here in Ephesians. By revelation to him, the Lord Himself reveals that the great work of God in Christ through grace is going to see that the whole historic system of disruption brought to a complete end. The Lord reveals that in the fullness of times, the things in the heavens, and the things of the earth are reunited in Christ - all brought together again in Christ. And the emphasis is upon that word "together." This means everything that God purposed in Christ will be at last together. That is what the apostle says, what the Holy Spirit says, is the consummation of it all - "to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth."
In Christ, what a tremendous phrase this is. Mark you, it is "in Christ." We are talking about what is in Christ. We are not talking about universalism or humanism where all things get better. No! "...we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace" (Ephesians 1:7). Of course this does not need arguing. We know quite well that if there is any hope at all for anything like this now, it will only be as we really are in Christ. If we get out of Christ into ourselves, we get into disruption and confusion. If we abide in Him, if all of us abide in Him, then we are together in an inmost way.
(continued with # 26)